Autumn Pear Salad with Candied Walnuts and Balsamic Vinaigrette


This flavorful Pear Salad will easily become a favorite fall recipe! It’s layered with tender spring greens, sweet juicy pears, crunchy candied walnuts, salty rich parmesan and a tangy balsamic vinaigrette. A highlight of any meal!

Pear Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Pear Salad

The salad has the perfect balance of sweet and tart, and I love the blend of textures. It’s one of those easy to throw together recipes that is set to impress everyone at the dinner party.

Everyone loves a good strawberry salad but fall needs it’s own seasonal salad and this should be it!


Try it soon while pears are in their seasonal prime! 

Ingredients for pear salad sitting on marble surface. Includes spring greens, pears, parmesan, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, butter, pecans, cranberries, mustard, honey, brown sugar.

Ingredients You’ll Need for This Recipe

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Honey
  • Dijon mustard
  • Shallot
  • Walnuts
  • Butter
  • Brown sugar
  • Spring salad and spinach blend
  • Parmesan
  • Pears
  • Cranberries

Making candied walnuts in skillet with brown sugar and butter for Pear Salad with

How to Ripen Pears Quicker?

To speed the ripening process up place pears in a paper bag with a ripe banana or apple, keep at room temperature (this should speed the process by a couple days).

How to Tell When They’re Ripe?

Pears should yield slightly to pressure when pressed near the stem when they’re ripe and ready to eat.

To prolong their shelf life store in the fridge. It obviously won’t stop ripening but it will delay it.

You don’t want to use crunchy, sour unripened pears or soft mushy, mealy overripe pears in this recipe so try to plan accordingly based off what you found at the store.

Be Gentle with Them!

Pears are easily susceptible to bruising and abrasion so handle them gently and store them in a single layer.

Pouring Balsamic Vinaigrette over Pear Salad in Salad Bowl

Which Type of Pear is Best?

I’ve made this salad with both anjou pears and bartlett pears and both are great (so go with what’s ripe/on sale). Anjou have a slightly thicker skin but it’s still tender so no need to peel.

Can I Use Pecans?

Of course pecans are another good choice in place of walnuts if that’s what you’ve got on hand.

Can I Use A Different Cheese?

I do love the parmesan here (and those thin shaved slices are something new for a change in salad) but gorgonzola or goat cheese would also work here if you’ve got some to use up.

Pear Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Tips for This Salad

  • Cut the pears and dress the salad right before you serve it. Pears can start to brown a bit where cut (that delicate skin) and the dressing will start to wilt the salad if it sits.
  • The dressing can be made a day or two ahead and chilled.
  • Stick with dark balsamic vinegar instead of the white balsamic. It has a more tart, stronger flavor that works better in this recipe.

More Pear Recipes You’ll Love

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Autumn Pear Salad

5 from 9 votes

This flavorful Pear Salad will easily become a favorite fall recipe! It's layered with tender spring greens, sweet juicy pears, crunchy candied walnuts, salty rich parmesan and a tangy balsamic vinaigrette. A highlight of any meal!

Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Pear Recipes, Pear Salad
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 5
Calories: 370 kcal
Author: Jaclyn


Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp finely diced shallot
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 Tbsp salted butter
  • 1 Tbsp packed light-brown sugar
  • 7 oz Spring Salad & Spinach blend
  • 2 oz parmesan cheese, shaved
  • 2 Pears, sliced thin (Bartlett or Anjou are great)
  • 1/3 cup dried sweetened cranberries


  1. To a blender add olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, dijon mustard, diced shallot and season with salt and pepper to taste (I used a 1/4 +1/8 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper). 
  2. Blend mixture until well emulsified, about 20 seconds. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container until ready to serve.
  3. In a medium skillet melt butter along with brown sugar over medium heat. Once mixture has melted add walnuts and cook, stirring constantly until caramelized, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate in a single layer to cool.
  4. Layer lettuce and pears in a large bowl and toss with dressing, then top with parmesan, dried cranberries and candied walnuts and serve (alternately just layer all the salad ingredients then drizzle with dressing. Note: top this salad with dressing just before serving as it will wilt the lettuces after a while).
Nutrition Facts
Autumn Pear Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 370 Calories from Fat 243
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 27g 42%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Cholesterol 13mg 4%
Sodium 228mg 10%
Potassium 228mg 7%
Total Carbohydrates 28g 9%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Sugars 19g
Protein 4g 8%
Vitamin A 12.6%
Vitamin C 15%
Calcium 15.9%
Iron 5.5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Recipe source: inspired by a recipe from a friend. Thanks Audrey!


  • Sallie Cross: I prepared this yummy salad following the recipes exactly. Served it with cooking classy beef stew. Perfect! Both dishes had were delicious.
    I made the salad a second time and topped it with blue cheese that had to be used immediately and it too was very good. November 28, 2018 at 4:49am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you liked both recipes! And that good to know blue cheese worked well for you, thanks for your feedback Sallie! November 28, 2018 at 8:20am Reply

  • Meghan: I made this for Thanksgiving dinner and everyone loved it!! SO good! November 22, 2018 at 3:03pm Reply

  • Laura | Tutti Dolci: So gorgeous! This salad is a must make for Thanksgiving! November 10, 2018 at 12:05am Reply

  • Nutritionist Mira: Wow really nice and awesome recipe with full of nutrients. As a Nutritionist I appreciate this recipe with all healthy ingredients. Many Thanks for posting this recipe, I will must try to home. November 8, 2018 at 2:35am Reply

  • Mindy: This is one of my favorites. I have made it many, many times! November 7, 2018 at 11:11am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad to hear you’ve enjoyed this salad Mindy! Thanks for your review! November 7, 2018 at 12:09pm Reply

  • 30 Super Savory Salads to Make Now | foodiecrush .com: […] September 18: Autumn Pear Salad […] October 10, 2018 at 6:02am Reply

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